An Honest Review of Quinn XCII’s New Album

 

Singer-songwriter Mikael Temrowski, known by his stage name Quinn XCII, released his fourth studio album “Change of Scenery II” on March 5. This album debuted over five years after his first EP, “Change of Scenery”. The 28-year old Detroit native dabbles in pop, hip hop, reggae and EDM to create an eclectic, rhythmic, “good vibes” type of  sound. As a longtime fan of Quinn — I first became a fan back in 2018 after listening to “The Story of Us” on repeat — I have already listened to his latest album several times through, and I have a few thoughts to share for my fellow Quinn stans to agree with or dispute, as well as some suggestions for new fans.

Quinn has always been really consistent with making and putting out new music, and “Change of Scenery II” is no exception, coming just a year after “A Letter To My Younger Self,” released in 2020. II is a product of the COVID-19 pandemic, which, as we know, caused government-mandated lockdowns and found us all with some extra time on his hands. Quinn took quarantine and turned it into an impressive, heartfelt music project. Quinn left Los Angeles for a ‘change of scenery’ in Rhode Island, the location of his friend and collaborator ayokay’s family vacation home. Other artists featured on the album are Jeremy Zucker, Chelsea Cutler and Alexander 23.

Overall, “Change of Scenery II” has kept up with its sibling albums in terms of songs that should have blown up even bigger than they did. I definitely prefer “II” over “Change of Scenery”, granted his 2015 EP only has five songs compared to “Change of Scenery II’s” 12 songs. The album still found itself in the number one spot in the iTunes charts the day it was released, and remained in the Top 10 in the days following. A lot of the songs explore mental health struggles, sadness, and wanting to escape. At the same time, they are celebrations of living in the moment, going on adventures, and finding beauty in the darkness. My favorites of the album are “Stay Next To Me” with Chelsea Cutler, “Look How Far We’ve Come,” “Hey, Goodbye” and “Mexico City.” I feel like the album has an overall quieter tempo to the songs, and is less anthem-like compared to Quinn’s other albums, especially my all time favorite release of his “A Letter To My Younger Self”. This doesn’t make “Change of Scenery II” worse by any means, just less catchy. This is the perfect album to play when you’re relaxing or going on a drive, not when you’re throwing a party. I think that’s a really good thing, especially after the year we’ve had. It’s nice to have a change of pace and slow things down, and take that time to reflect on what’s really important - your relationships, your experiences, and your happiness. Quinn really radiated a “less is more” mentality with “Change of Scenery II,” and I think it’s much harder to make good music while doing this versus an album full of cliche lyrics and meaningless melodies. It’s really very well done, especially as a writer who truly appreciates the words that make up the songs (his writing is what makes him such a fantastic artist). 

If you’re a new Quinn XCII fan, I’d suggest starting at the beginning of his discography and making your way to “Change of Scenery II,” which will make the new album that much sweeter. My favorites from each of his past releases over the years are listed below. Give Quinn a chance - trust me, you’ll be glad you did, and will have “Straightjacket” and “Autopilot” on repeat before you know what hit you.

  • “Change of Scenery” (2015): “Demon” and “Another Day in Paradise” 

  • “Bloom” (2016): “New Wave” and “Bootleggin’”

  • “The Story of Us” (2017): “Always Been You,” “Flare Guns” and “Straightjacket”

  • “The Story of Us (Deluxe)” (2018): “Candle,” “What The Hell Happened To Us” and “Before It Burned”

  • “From Michigan With Love” (2019): “Autopilot,” “Abel and Cain” and “Life Must Go On”

  • “A Letter To My Younger Self” (2020): “Stacy,” “Two 10s,” “Sleep While I Drive” and “A Letter To My Younger Self”